How long will the assessment take to complete?
The breakdown of the number of hours involved in a child or adolescent assessment is below. Parents and the client must come into the clinic for the initial interview, test administration and feedback. The rest is completed by the neuropsychologist independently.
- Initial interview with parents and/or client – 1 to 2 hours
- Test administration – 5 to 7 hours (can be completed in one day, or over two days)
- Interview with other health professionals, educators – 1 to 2 hours
- Test scoring and interpretation – 3 to 4 hours
- Feedback to parents and/or client – 1 to 2 hours
- Writing of report – 4 to 5 hours
- Feedback and contact with health professionals, educators – 1 to 3 hours
What information should I bring to the assessment?
It is very helpful to have the most recent report cards or university transcripts available for review. In addition, if the client had an Individual Education Plan at school, a copy of the most recent one should be brought. Any previous psychological or neuropsychological assessment reports, as well as any therapy reports (e.g., for physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy or psychotherapy) should also be brought to the assessment. Dr. Walker may also have you complete signed releases to obtain information from the school or health professional involved with your child or adolescent.
What is the cost associated with a child or adolescent assessment?
The cost of the assessment will be determined once some basic information is gathered that will help Dr. Walker understand what concerns you are having, and what type of assessment needs to be completed. However, psychoeducational assessments tend to range from $3500 to $4000, while neuropsychological assessments range from $4000 to $5000. Please check with your insurance company to determine whether coverage is provided.
What should I tell my child before coming to the assessment?
Often when going to the doctor, a child might assume this means getting a shot or some other procedure. It is important to reassure your child that they will not be having any painful procedures during the assessment. You can tell your child that the day may feel a bit like school, where Dr. Walker will be asking them to answer some questions, listening and talking, building things and drawing things. They will also be asked to do some reading, writing and math. The reason for doing all of this is to find out the things that your child is really good at, and if there are things that are more difficult for your child, to try to find ways to make them easier. Let them know that they will be able to take breaks to go to the bathroom and have lunch. Typically, parents are not allowed to be present during testing. You may want to reassure your child that while you will not be in the room, you will be just outside/nearby and available, should they need you. They are also welcome to bring a small toy or blanket for added security.
Is there anything else I can do to help prepare for the assessment?
The most important thing to do is to make sure that your child or adolescent has a good sleep the night before, and a good breakfast in the morning. You may also wish to pack a drink and some snacks so that your child or adolescent has something to renew their energy during breaks. A full day of testing uses a lot of energy, and it may be helpful to speak to teachers ahead of time to reduce homework pressure on the day of, or the day after, the assessment.
What should I look for in a therapist?
The first step is to decide on who you want. There are two important factors in selecting a therapist. First, the therapist must be skilled in working with individuals with your concerns, and must be ethical in their practice. Second, there must be a good ‘fit’ between you and the therapist – in other words, you (or your child or adolescent) must feel comfortable with the therapist. There must be a feeling of trust, confidentiality and openness. Psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, some family physicians, psychotherapists, child & youth workers and guidance counselors can provide support in a number of areas.
What should I think about before contacting a therapist for help?
There are a number of things to consider, both from a ‘fit’ perspective, and from a financial perspective.
With respect to fit, you might ask yourself ‘Who will I feel most comfortable with?’ and whether it is important to have someone of the same gender, sexual orientation, cultural background and/or someone who understands how these factors may affect your current concerns or challenges. The relationship between an individual and a therapist is professional. You bring in your concerns, and the therapist uses their expertise to help you better understand and problem-solve around those concerns.
When thinking about finances, it is helpful to know what health insurance coverage you have (many services are not covered by OHIP), what is covered and for how long, and what percentage of the fee is covered.
Is it OK to interview a potential therapist?
Absolutely! This is the easiest way to answer some of your questions that might include:
- What background and experience do you have?
- What experience do you have working with someone like my child/adolescent?
- What kind of therapy models do you have experience with?
- How do you typically set up a session – would you work with my child/adolescent alone, or with me (the caregiver) as well?
- What will the cost be? Are services covered by OHIP or private insurance?
- How much notice do you need for cancellations? Is there a cost for missed appointments?
- What hours are available? What happens when you are not available (e.g., vacations)?
Choose someone who you feel you can speak freely to, who makes you feel valued and respected.